What does 1 mean: 'manners were [...] by conformity'? I know little about English history.
How does 1 justify or mitigate 2; because to Anglophones in 2016, 1700-1900 English (e.g. Sheridan's opening below) appears grandiloquent and exaggerated?
Source: p 195, The Art of the Advocate (1993) by Richard Du Cann QC (called to the Bar of England and Wales).
This was a period in English history when Lord Chesterfield could advise his son to speak well not because of what people would think of him if he did not, but because it was foolish to neglect an accomplishment which would serve him well in later life. [1.] Manners were an end in themselves and not merely a means to achieve propriety by conformity. [End of 1.] [2.] It is not surprising that a deliberate cultivation of language should have taken place at the same time. [End of 2.] This is part of Sheridan's opening on the impeachment of Warren Hastings:
The coolness and reflection with which this act was managed ... proves the prisoner to be that monster in nature, a deliberate and reasoning tyrant; other tyrants of whom we read ... were urged on to their crimes by the impetuosity of passion. High rank disqualified them from advice, and perhaps, equally prevented reflection. But in the prisoner we have a man born in a state of mediocrity; bred to a mercantile life; used to system, and accustomed to regularity; who was accountable to his masters and therefore was compelled to think and deliberate on every part of his conduct. It is this cool deliberation I say, which renders his crimes the more horrible and his character the more atrocious.
The studied perfection of this language falls unseasonably on modern ears. It is some measure of the unreasonableness of the age that the greater the care with which a speech appears to be fashioned the greater the distrust it arouses in the audience. The era of the common man invites common speech. Of course, words are the cheapest commodity on the market. Spoken words are also the most ephemeral. It is not surprising that less and less attention is paid to the construction of speeches or to the choice individual words from which they are built.